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A national minimum wage proposed at R3,500 per month

| Economic factors

Deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa says that a panel of advisors on the national minimum wage has settled on a proposed figure of R3,500 per month. That amounts to approximately R20 per hour.

“It is by no means the final figure of what the national minimum wage is going to be,” Ramaphosa said, as reported by Bloomberg on Sunday, following the release of a report by a panel, set up by the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

Approximately 60% of all South Africans earn less than R3,000 a month – while the basic cost of living (survival line) for a family of four is over R5,500 a month.

Economists have warned that setting any national minimum wage would likely lead to job losses – while other sectors have argued that the current system for determining wages suits the country better.

Minimum wages in South Africa are currently determined by sector, or through bargaining councils led by unions. This has allowed more flexibility in setting worker pay, but has also led to the formation of predictable ‘strike seasons’, where workers down tools to negotiate new wages.

It is hoped that a national minimum wage will bring fairness to all workers in South Africa, and to settle the disruptive nature of strikes.

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